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LEGAL FAQS

Q: I am a 69-year-old bachelor without a kin. I have a flat, which I want to donate to a religious organisation outside Calcutta after my death. Their lawyer wants to write my will right now for me, wants their own people to sign for me, and wants the will to be registered in their city. He also wants to retain the original copy, handing me a photocopy. Is this procedure correct? As far as I know, one has to write the will oneself in front of a doctor and a lawyer, and that has to be ratified by three persons known to the testator, one being the executor. I do not want to register the will, as then it would be difficult to change it or write it afresh.

K. Deepak, Calcutta

A: A will is to be executed before at least two witnesses, but they need not be a doctor or a lawyer. A will does not compulsorily require any stamp duty or registration. But where there is a chance of a claim arising in future, registration is desirable. The lawyer of the organisation can make the draft of the will and you can sign it only if you are satisfied with it. The organisation seems anxious to ensure that the property passes smoothly on to them after your demise and for probate they will need the original will. However, if you are not comfortable with their way of functioning, you may keep the will in the custody of a person who you trust and who will hand it over to them after your demise. You could make that person the executor.

Q: I am employed in an apex co-operative society in West Bengal. I was suspended a year ago. The chargesheet has not yet been issued and internal inquiry has not started either. I am being paid 50 per cent of my salary. How long can the authorities continue without further proceedings? Is there any verdict in this regard? When do the authorities have to begin paying the full salary and other benefits? What steps can I take for the completion of the internal inquiry?

A.K. Singh, Naihati, West Bengal

A: There are several high court and Supreme Court decisions in this context, condemning indefinite suspension of employees without any reasonable explanation. The cases of Bharat Sugar Mills Limited vs Jai Singh, 1961 (2) LLJ 664(SC), and U.S. Singh vs Coal India Limited, 1994 (2) SLR (Calcutta) 77, are similar to your case and self-explanatory. You could file a writ petition before the high court appealing for the quashing of the suspension order or a direction to the authorities to expedite the proceedings.